Friday
Jul202018

Friday Five: Top 5 healthcare business news items from the MCOL Weekend edition

By Claire Thayer, July 20, 2018

Every business day, MCOL posts feature stories making news on the business of health care. Here are five we think are particularly important for this week:

Top News From the Past Week as reported from key news services, and compiled by MCOL

Doctors Raise Alarm About Shortages Of Pain Medications

In hospitals across the country, anesthesiologists and other doctors are facing significant shortages of injectable opioids.

NPR

Friday, July 20, 2018

Merck joins the list of drug makers agreeing to freeze or lower some prices

As political pressure on the pharmaceutical industry builds, Merck has become the latest big drug maker to commit to halting price hikes.

Stat News

Thursday, July 19, 2018

CMS plots path forward for Kentucky work requirements after court setback

The Trump administration is redoubling efforts to allow Kentucky to impose controversial Medicaid work requirements after a federal court halted its attempt to overhaul the safety-net program three weeks ago.

Politico

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Walmart Names Humana Veteran to Run Its Health and Wellness Unit

Walmart Inc. has hired a former senior executive at insurer Humana Inc. to run its health-care business, a move that could reignite speculation that the two companies will forge a closer partnership.

Bloomberg

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You — And It Could Raise Your Rates

To an outsider, the fancy booths at a June health insurance industry gathering in San Diego, Calif., aren't very compelling: a handful of companies pitching "lifestyle" data and salespeople touting jargony phrases like "social determinants of health."

NPR

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

These and more weekly news items on the business of healthcare are featured in the MCOL Weekend edition, along with the MCOL Tidbits, and more, for MCOL Premium level members.

Friday
Jul202018

Consumers and Digital Technology: What’s the Deal With Healthcare?

by Clive Riddle, July 20, 2018 

The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions has just released some preliminary findings from their 2018 Survey of U.S. Health Care Consumers, which will be published in August, on the heels of their recently released Deloitte 2018 Survey of U.S. Physicians. Deloitte shares that “consumers and physicians typically agree that virtual health care holds great promise for transforming care delivery. Yet many physicians remain reluctant to embrace the technologies, worried about reimbursement, privacy and other issues.”

Thus Deloitte found consumers are well ahead of providers on the technology acceptance curve, and many providers are dragging their feet in meeting rising consumer demand in this arena. Dr. Ken Abrams, managing director, Deloitte Consulting tells us "Changes in health care reimbursement models, combined with growing consumer demand, are driving health systems to embrace virtual care, but they are struggling to get physicians on board."

The Deloitte surveys found:

  • 64% of consumers and 66% physicians “cite improved patient access as the top benefit of virtual care.”
  • “About half of physicians surveyed agree that virtual care supports the goals of patient-centricity, including improved patient satisfaction (52% agree) and staying connected with patients and their caregivers (45%  agree)
  • “While 57% of consumers favor video-based visits, only 14% of physicians surveyed have the capability today, and just 18% of the remainder plan to add this capability.”
  • “Clinicians worry about medical errors (36%) and data security and privacy (33%) associated with virtual care.”
  • “Email/patient portal consultations are the most prevalent virtual care technology used by responding physicians (38%), followed by physician-to-physician consultations (17%) and virtual/video visits (14%).”

Moving beyond just virtual care, and examining the healthcare digital experience as a whole, the global brand and marketing consultancy Prophet has just released a two part report: Making the Shift, Part I Healthcare’s Transformation to Consumer-Centricity (25 pages) and Part II  A Culture Change Playbook for Healthcare Transformation (also 25 pages.) They found that “ healthcare providers, payers and pharma companies are not making significant strides toward consumer centricity despite increasing demands and competition for healthcare dollars.”

Jeff Gourdji, a partner at Prophet, tells us  “consumers want to be treated as powerful participants in their own health.  Increasingly healthcare organizations’ own bottom lines require meeting consumers halfway or more. So, it is increasingly in everyone’s best interests to make sure consumers are empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled so they become what we call the ‘e-consumer.’”

Prophet paints the picture at the start of their report like this: “With the rise of digital technology, consumers have unprecedented power. Consumers expect business categories like retail and consumer goods to provide individual experiences across both the physical and digital worlds. While other businesses are shifting their focus toward delivering meaningful and valuable consumer experiences, healthcare has largely stayed the same. And, until recently, it hasn’t had the imperative to change. However, pressures from governments and employers to lower costs and pressures from consumers to meet ever rising expectations means that driving consumer engagement and redefining how healthcare organizations interact with people is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. While healthcare organizations are feeling pressure to upgrade their consumer experience, with a focus on how to engage and empower consumers, the path to accomplishing this is unclear.”

Immediately below this intro, the next section header asks “What’s the Deal with Healthcare?” They share survey results that “81 percent of consumers are dissatisfied with their healthcare experiences, and the happiest are those who interact with the system the least.”

Some of Prophet's other survey findings include:       

  • “Fewer than 10% of all healthcare organizations say they are “most willing” to partner with digital companies     
  • Only 21% of respondents believe that ‘practical and important innovation is coming from digital startups’ compared to over 50% of respondents who believe this innovation is coming from providers and medical device companies         
  • "Only about a quarter (27%) of surveyed companies measure relationship metrics like Net Promoter Score despite evidence that consumer metrics are critical to driving a commitment to consumer centricity.”
  • "Only 15% of respondents reported a willingness to consider adding leadership from outside the industry, even when those leaders would be supported by a healthcare-savvy team.

Prophet goes on to share on elaborate on “five shifts that organizations must prioritize to reshape into more consumer-centric businesses:

  1. Moving from tactical fixes to a holistic experience strategy
  2. Moving from fragmented care to connected ecosystems
  3. Moving from population-centric to person-centered
  4. Moving from incremental improvements to extensive innovation
  5. Moving from insights as a department to a culture of consumer obsession
Friday
Jul132018

The Physician’s Role in Today’s Healthcare Costs

By Clive Riddle, July 13, 2018

Influencing consumer behavior to reduce healthcare costs via cost sharing and engagement strategies, and purchaser cost containment strategies of all stripes have seemingly dominated discussions of regarding the cost of healthcare. So how to physicians feel about their role in the cost equation today?

A new seven page NEJM Catalyst Buzz Survey report sponsored by University of Utah Health has just been released: Cost of Care and Physician Responsibility.   The report presents findings from the University’s survey examining how clinicians view health care costs. They “found that while clinicians feel a great sense of responsibility around keeping costs affordable for patients, they don’t feel they have the tools to know, the time to discuss, or the ability to impact how much things costs,” and furthermore “the survey results show a disconnect: Physicians feel responsible for the cost of care to a patient, but not accountable for it,”

99% of surveyed physicians said that out of pocket costs are important to patients – 62% said extremely important, 32% said very important and 5% said important.  Physicians were asked “Do the following aspects of cost enter into clinical decisions at your organization?” 76% said yes to Cost to practice/system; 72% said yes to Out-of-pocket cost for patients; 68% said yes to Total cost of care; and 36% said yes to Contribution to overall national health costs.

How much impact does each of the following stakeholders have on the cost of health care? The percentage of physicians saying each stakeholders had a strong impact were:

  •           Pharmaceutical/biotech companies  - 87%
  •           Health plans/HMOs/insurers – 81%
  •           Hospitals/health systems/physician organizations – 75%
  •           Government/regulators – 67%
  •           Individual clinicians – 60%
  •           Employers – 28%
  •           Patients – 26%
  •           Medical device manufacturers – 23%

The percentage of physicians agreeing with the following statements were as follows:

  •           Health care costs are too confusing with current payer mix – 90%
  •           Physicians aren’t trained to discuss the cost of care – 86%
  •           The tools necessary to estimate costs to the patient are not available – 78%
  •           Tools necessary to estimate costs to health care delivery system, not available –77%
  •           There isn’t enough time in clinic to discuss cost of treatments with patients – 64%
  •           Physicians should make the best treatment decisions irrespective of cost – 57%
  •           Physicians should be held accountable for the cost of care to a patient – 28%
  •           It’s not the physician’s responsibility to educate patients about costs – 18%

Current strategies involving physicians are focused at the organizational level, such as with value based care and accountable care arrangements. When you get at the individual level, these survey results indicate that it would seem there is a reason current cost strategies emphasize purchaser and consumer solutions.

Friday
Jul132018

Friday Five: Top 5 healthcare business news items from the MCOL Weekend edition

By Claire Thayer, July 13, 2018

Every business day, MCOL posts feature stories making news on the business of health care. Here are five we think are particularly important for this week:

CMS promises to ‘restore the doctor-patient relationship’ with 2019 proposed rule

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule on Thursday making what officials called “historic changes” to the Medicare program aimed at restoring the doctor-patient relationship.

FierceHealthcare

Friday, July 13, 2018

A Simple Emergency Room Intervention Can Help Cut Suicide Risk

Many people who attempt suicide end up in an emergency room for immediate treatment. But few of those suicide survivors get the follow-up care they need at a time when they are especially likely to attempt suicide again.

NPR

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Amazon Has Global Aspirations for Medical-Supplies Marketplace

Amazon.com Inc. has global aspirations for its medical-supplies marketplace, according to a job listing posted on its website, highlighting the e-commerce giant’s sweeping ambitions to disrupt health care by selling products to hospitals, doctors and dentists and offering prescription drugs.

Bloomberg

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Insurers Urge a Quick Fix After Obamacare Payment Suspension

Insurance-industry groups are pushing the Trump administration to resolve a legal dispute that led to the suspension of billions of dollars of payments that help stabilize Obamacare’s markets.

Bloomberg

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Judge blocks Kentucky’s Medicaid work requirement

A federal judge has blocked Kentucky from instituting the first-ever Medicaid work requirements, potentially dealing a major blow to the Trump administration's efforts to scale back the health care program for the poor.

Politico

Monday, July 9, 2018

These and more weekly news items on the business of healthcare are featured in the MCOL Weekend edition, along with the MCOL Tidbits, and more, for MCOL Premium level members.

Friday
Jul062018

Friday Five: Top 5 healthcare business news items from the MCOL Weekend edition

By Claire Thayer, July 6, 2018

Every business day, MCOL posts feature stories making news on the business of health care. Here are five we think are particularly important for this week:

CMS Postpones Deadlines for New Bundled Payments Model

Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) Advanced applicants now have until Aug. 8 to submit signed participation agreements and select care episodes.

RevCycleIntelligence

Friday, July 6, 2018

Dems Want to Focus High Court Fight on Abortion, Health Care

In the budding battle royale over the Supreme Court vacancy, what's the Democratic sweet spot between satisfying liberal activists' demands for an all-out fight against President Donald Trump's pick and protecting senators facing tight re-election races in deeply red states?

The Associated Press

Friday, July 6, 2018

Drugmakers try evasion, tougher negotiations to fight new U.S. insurer tactic

In the escalating battle over U.S. prescription drug prices, major pharmaceutical companies are scrambling to limit the economic damage from a new U.S. insurer tactic that coaxes patients away from expensive drugs.

Reuters

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Despite U.S. Court’s Ruling, Medicaid Work Requirements Advance In Other States

The fallout from Friday’s federal court ruling that struck down the Medicaid work requirement in Kentucky was swift.

Kaiser Health News

Monday, July 2, 2018

More Americans pay for ACA health plans, despite Trump administration moves to undercut law

The number of Americans who bought and began to pay for Affordable Care Act health plans grew slightly this year, despite repeated efforts by the Trump administration to undermine the insurance marketplaces created under the law, new federal figures show.

NY Times

Monday, July 2, 2018

These and more weekly news items on the business of healthcare are featured in the MCOL Weekend edition, along with the MCOL Tidbits, and more, for MCOL Premium level members.